Method Man at the Cabooze, 1/26/13

Method Man at the Cabooze, 1/26/13
Photo by B Fresh Photography

Method Man
with Carnage, Toki Wright and DJ D Mil

The Cabooze, Minneapolis
Saturday, January 26, 2013

With marijuana smoke thick in the air and the Cabooze staff apparently looking the other way about it for much of the night on Saturday, Method Man -- arguably the most famous member of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan -- took the stage asking, "Where are my smokers at?" to a cacophony of cheers and exclamations of "Right here, Mef!" and the like.

See Also:
Slideshow: Method Man at the Cabooze, 1/26/12

Things got under way quickly with "Release Yo' Delf" from Method Man's 1994 solo debut, Tical, Method Man puffing on what looked to be a Dutch Master (who knows if tobacco was actually in it), which he discarded into the crowd after a few long drags. He didn't finish the song, only the first couple of verses and two choruses, which would become a theme for the night, and a maddening one at that.

The motif continued with "Bring the Pain" and what began as a rousing version of "Method Man" from Wu-Tang 's 1993 debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the crowd chanting the "M-E-T-H-O-D Man!" intro over and over along with Mef himself but just as it got going he again cut the song off about halfway through. Though the crowd didn't seem to mind much, overall, it was beginning to prove frustrating. He did offer full versions of both "What the Blood Clot" and "All I Need," the latter needing no introduction (and none was offered) and it was just as good (if not better) without Mary J. Blige's backing vocals, though her contributions to that song on record absolutely make it an all-time great.

Method Man at the Cabooze, 1/26/13
Photo by B Fresh Photography

The set continued with a so-so version of "The Motto", which was a so-so song on a so-so record (Tical 0: the Prequel), and it shook out as the low point of the evening, Method Man hard selling the crowd on it beforehand, then giving it the truncated treatment and a half-assed one at that. The show ran around 75 minutes and Method Man clearly wanted to cram as much as he could into that timeframe, but cutting songs like 'The Motto" and "Gravel Pit" among others would have given the set less bloat and allowed most, if not all, of the remaining songs to run their entire course, as cutting Wu-Tang's signature song, "C.R.E.A.M.", in half amounted almost to treason.

About three-quarters of the way through, Method Man paid tribute to his deceased bandmate Ol' Dirty Bastard with heartfelt, almost wistful versions of ODB's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Brooklyn Zoo." Method had to take a small breather in between songs and stood toward the back of the stage to shed a few tears. "I'm sorry, y'all," he offered in his signature gravelly rasp, "I just miss the shit out of Dirty sometimes. He was my brother and I wish he was still here." The crowd understood and would have understood had he broke down and sobbed, as well.


Method Man at the Cabooze, 1/26/13
Photo by B Fresh Photography

The end found Method with a lot of energy, diving into the crowd two or three times to crowd surf and once walking on top of it, but the songs were too numerous and getting cut shorter and shorter, by the end just a verse and maybe one chorus. While overall it was fairly enjoyable despite the lack of full songs, it could have approached transcendence (especially with the inclusion of the ODB tribute passage.) Next time Method Man could do better by expanding on what worked "Bring The Pain" and "Method Man" were exceptional despite the shortened versions) and cutting what didn't ("The Motto" in particular.) It was a lot of fun but could have been a show people talked about with reverence for weeks afterward, instead everyone will just say, "Yeah, I was there and it was pretty good."

Critic's Bias: I have seen three of the five Wu-Tang Clan members who have passed through town in the last year (I also caught GZA and Raekwon the Chef; missed RZA and Ghostface Killah.) While it would be all but impossible to beat GZA, who was performing his mind-boggling Liquid Swords in its entirety a few months back and despite my misgivings about this show, it was easily the silver medal.

The Crowd: The weirdest cross-section of America I have ever seen in one room.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Anybody need any Quaaludes?" by a man on the outdoor patio while people were smoking, prompting me to ask aloud if we were at an Allman Brothers concert.

Notebook Dump: Shortening these songs is doing a disservice to them. That the show is still good despite it is kind of amazing.

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